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Week 1-4 Notes

by: Yasmine Gohar

Week 1-4 Notes Posc 007

Yasmine Gohar

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About this Document

Intro to political theory Utilitarianism Libertarianism Morals
Political Theory
John Maderis
75 ?




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This 14 page Bundle was uploaded by Yasmine Gohar on Thursday April 21, 2016. The Bundle belongs to Posc 007 at University of California Riverside taught by John Maderis in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 29 views. For similar materials see Political Theory in Political Science at University of California Riverside.


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Date Created: 04/21/16
Utilitarianism: Higher and Lower Pleasure? - Is there anything analogous to sandel’s comparison of two cultural productions as representing higher and lower pleasures? [reader p 17- 21 - What are the key comparisons? - Higher: o Mental pleasure o Use of intelligence o Mental cultivation o Moral conscience o Enjoying health o Experiencing autonomy o Dignity o Nobler feelings - Lower: o Bodily pleasures o Foolishness o Ignorance o Selfishness o Sensual indulgence - What is the unifying theme here? o These are all distinctions about development versus non- development of human capacities, not about what one enjoys with his/her capacities o They are about one’s unique ability to think, judge, and feel, not necessarily one’s cultural tastes o Mill also seems to see the “higher” pleasures as more durable. o This is integrally connected to development of “individuality” o Instead of “higher pleasure,” could talk about human flourishing, true happiness, what is best for human beings Mill’s utilitarian defense of individual rights - Especially things like freedom of speech, conscious, association— people should be able to engage in experiments of living (finding out what is best for them) - Allowing people to be heard and try out their own ideas will help contribute to human flourishing Review: - Consequentialism and utilitarianism [acts and rules in terms of their consequences] - A basic definition of utilitarianism (all kinds) - Sandel’s criticisms of utilitarianism o Concerning rights o Concerning single standard of value - Sandel’s criticisms of mill o Concerning rights o Concerning single standard of value - Rights: act versus rule utilitarianism - Single standard of value: higher and lower pleasures (human flourishing, and what it means to grow as a person with your own individuality) Libertarianism: Preview: - Libertarianism in general - Against distributive justice—nozick - Against distributive justice: entitlement or justice in holdings (nozick) - Against distributive justice: how liberty upsets patterns (nozick) - Taxation as forced labor (nozick) - Self-ownership—intro (sandel) - Self-ownership—selling kidneys, assisted suicide, consensual cannibalism (sandel) - From self-ownership to property in the person (sandel) Libertarianism: individual liberty and minimal government. To act without interference from the government - According to sandel: an ethical view of how we should treat each other that leads to adherents to certain conclusions about: o markets and government regulation - Debate about libertarianism often concerns… o Social structure: how is society shaped and how does it work? How should we reshape society? o Power: who in society has more or less power? How would we like power relations to change? o Conflict: what kinds of conflicts characterize our society? Why? What should we do about them? o Ideology: who believes what in society? How have they come to have these beliefs? How accurate and complete (or distorted and partial) are these beliefs? o History: how have social structure, power relations, conflict and ideology changed over time? How are they changing now? How should they change? - Libertarians and civil libertarians… o What about “civil libertarians,” roughly like mill?  Don’t necessarily focus on markets as expressions of freedom  Don’t necessarily see gov’t regulation as main threat to freedom  Some overlap Nozick vs. distributive justice - Some definitions: o Justice: proper assignment of rights, powers, immunities and freedoms. o Distributive justice: proper assignment of resources or goods, with special concern from equality and inequality  If you care about distributive justice—that is going to require more than a minimal government, and more than a minimal state is a violation of civil rights. - Holdings v. distribution—p. 60 o Distribution requires a distributor in effect (some sort of central mechanism to hand things out) - Justice in original acquisition - What is patterning or a patterned theory of justice? o Sandel: a patterned theory says: a just distribution consists of a certain pattern—such as equal income or equal utility - Key terms: o Historical theories of distributive justice o Patterned theories of distributive justice Nozick vs. distributive justice: What does Nozick assume about these issues? o Social structure: how is society shaped and how does it work? How should we reshape society? o Power: who in society has more or less power? How would we like power relations to change? o Conflict: what kinds of conflicts characterize our society? Why? What should we do about them? o Ideology: who believes what in society? How have they come to have these beliefs? How accurate and complete (or distorted and partial) are these beliefs? o History: how have social structure, power relations, conflict and ideology changed over time? How are they changing now? How should they change? Nozick suggests that the growth in NBA salaries is because people want to pay them more -how well do you think Nozick’s explanation would account for other basketball arena workers, such as ticket collectors and security guards? Team owners? Taxation as forced labor? - Preview: suppose you had a choice… - Current system of tax: 15% deducted - Limited forced labor: spend 300 h per year working in a factory, farm bureaucracy… at the gov’t or someone else’s full discretion and direction - Which would you choose and why? Nozick (70) - What are the steps of the argument? o Part owned [ownership is key--] o Seizing the results of someone’s labor [wage/ money]  Taxation is the same as taking someone’s time and directing them o Sandel: if you express yourself as owning yourself, is there a prob w that? - What are the key words or concepts? What are the key propositions? Taxation: - “seizing… - the results of someone’s labor (70) - money, products - using the money, products that have been taken Forced Labor: - seizing… - hours from him and directing him to carry on various activities (70) - capacity to labor (hours) - directing one’s labor or capacity to labor What’s wrong w forced labor—Nozick? - “If people force you to do certain work, or unrewarded work, for a certain period of time, they decide what you are to do and what purposes your work is to serve apart from your decisions. This process whereby they take this decision from you makes them a part-owner of you” (reader 70) o if so then is employment always objectionable? Five objections to nozick’s “taxation is forced labor” - objection 1 (right ting, 66-67) - objection 5: self ownership o the basic idea is that libertarian arguments all presuppose the idea of selfownership? Lecture: Objection 5: self-ownership? - Sandel’s fifth objection is different from all the questions raised above. o The basic idea is that libertarian arguments all presuppose the idea of self-ownership? o Are all rights really just property rights? Is ‘self ownership’ a valid doctrine? o Should we really regard our selves as our property? Midterm ex: Libertarianism: - Meaning: o Political theory [school of thought] with the emphasis on the individual liberty, in support of minimal government o Ability to act without interference of the state/ government - Significance: o Figures:  Nozick  Justice  Distribution of rights, powers, immunities and freedom o Against: distributive justice  Taxation is forced labor  Milton friedmen o Sandel: self-ownership o Contrasts with libertarianism  paternalism  Consequentialism  Utilitarianism o CF civil libertarianism (mill) Self ownership: Sandel’s ex. - Selling kidneys - Assisted suicide - Consensual cannibalism - What are the core elements of each of these cases? - What considerations does sandel thing ‘self-ownership’ leaves out? Self ownership vs. competing values (reasons why people ought to be seen to sell themselves) - Higher purpose of human bodies o it is degrading to sell your kidneys for such trivial reasons - No exploitation o If you find someone who is really willing to sell their kidneys then you are getting them to do something they wouldn’t be willing to do if they weren’t in certain circumstances—exploiting - Dignity - Compassion Sandel leaves out: selling oneself into slavery - Should libertarians be for it or against it? Self ownership vs. property in the person Self ownership Property in the person Autonomy An alienable property right in oneself Self-determination Independence Freedom Property in the person Markets and Morals - What is a market? o The area, place, or institution through which buyers and sellers may negotiate the exchange of a commodity o What is a commodity?  Something that is bought or sold—or something produced to be bought and sold - We can anticipate some of sandel’s concerns by asking questions about markets, their purposes—and what is or isn’t a commodity - Should we think of everything as a commodity? Something that can be bought and sold? Case 1: - Civil war recruitment: what are he basic facts? o Two phases:  1. Substitutes (pay large sums for someone to go for you)  2. Exemption (pay an amount and be exempt) [$300] o what do you think about conscription (draft), substitution and exemption? o Utilitarianism: -know what it is and what the distinctions are between different possible utilitarian standards and approaches -understand sandel’s critiques and what’s wrong with his critiques Consequentialism: any approach to moral or political theory that judge’s actions, rules, or policy according to their consequences Utilitarianism: usually seen as a type of consequentialism Pg. 17- Reader: -what’s mill’s name for utilitarianism? Philosophy of happiness with the foundation of rules? -What is to be judged? actions -What is to be decided about them? How much do they promote happiness (intended pleasure, and absence of pain) -happiness and pleasure --are these identical, exchangeable terms? -----utilitarianism: any approach to moral or political theory that judges actions, rules or policy according tot their tendency to promote happiness, pleasure or utility this definition encompasses lots of different narrower definitions like mill’s and bentham’s utility v. happiness v. pleasure v. satisfaction of desires v. monetary value are they the same thing? In the trolley ex. the utilitarian would try to find the solution that would promote the most happiness Pg 10 Section 2, 3- Reader What is the principle of utility, according to bentham? What is utility? Benthams utilitarianism It is all encompassing: it governs “every action whatsoever” It is universally applied: everyone is really a utilitarian Defining “utility” broadly—benefit, advantage, pleasure, good, happiness Measuring utility: a very detailed process (pg 13) Interlude: moral Outliers and utilitarianism: -given sandel’s examples how do you envision the typical practicing utilitarian? -is it all about money? They seem very selfish [ford] and materialistic utilitarianism suggest happiness in general not just to the specific person Bentham Defended [sort of] -john stuart Mill’s defense: -bentham as great at demolishing other peoples arguments… and getting people to think critically about tradition and the status quo What was the status quo in bnthams time? Political judgment: what sandel often neglects -social structure: what social structures were important to bentham and his fellow utilitarian’s? -power: what concerns did bentham have about power and its distribution -conflict what sort of social conflicts, including conflicts of interest or values, were imp to bentham? -ideology: one of the main themes is the good of each person is as good as a group (each persons enjoyment is weighed equally) mill: in many cases, political judgment does not need to focus on “utility” per se” so what should political judgment focus on, usually? - and when should it focus on utility? - To resolve conflicts Most rights are examples of the second principle Reader pp. 41b, 44, 47, 41a Basis for rights is utility Justice and rights are ultimately the basis of utility Ultilitarian review: any approach to moral or political theory that judges actions, rules, or policy according to their tendency to promote happiness o vc vnnssdfddd xccssxgfgrgxc vvxcgr utility Act utilitarianism: an approach to moral or political theory that judges acts, according to their tendency to promote happiness [ or utility] Rule utilitarianism: an approach to moral or political theory that judges rules according to their tendency to promote happiness [or utility] Political judgment?  The kinds of judgments of citizens, elected officials, and activists have to make in public, political life, and public, political debate—judgments about law, policy, how society should change?  How good is the trolly hypothetical at capturing the political judgment?  “Galena Oil Train News Report” o other issues involved:  for:  citizens  consumers  environmentalists  elected officials  what things can be done to prevent these accidents?  Health effects from the pollution set off by the explosion Preview:  How are ethical judgment and political judgment similar and different?  What kinds of issues and questions does sandel often neglect in his book?  Sandel’s list of three approaches to justice  Next week: ulitatiarianism -how individuals should treat one another—too narrow of a question to be a basic aspect of ethical judgment Political Judgment: what sandel often neglects  Social structure: how is society shaped and how does it work? How should we reshape society?  Power: who in society has more or less power? How would we like power relations to change?  Conflict: what kinds of conflicts characterize our society? Why? What should we do about them?  Ideology: who believes what in society? How have they come to have these beliefs? How accurate and complete are these beliefs?  History: how have social structure, power relations, conflict, and ideology change over time? How are they changing now? How should they change? Three main approaches to justice  Maximizing welfare  Respecting freedom  Promoting virtue o Trolley ex. if you became very concerned about judgment of your conduct, that regards concerns of your virtue Weaknesses of sandel’s book:  Concerning ethical judgment and political judgment  Underemphasizing: social structure, power, conflict, ideology, and history Political theories are critical versions or Philosophies of:  How society is shaped and how it works  Who has power and who doesn’t  What kinds of conflicts exist  How citizens and other political actors behave  How these features of society and politics have been changing, and how they should change  How society should be shaped  Who should have power  How conflicts should be managed  And how citizens and others should behave Political theory and you  Familiar with different political theories and arguments about how we should understand them? o Yes, you are o Ex. from election ‘16  Is Donald trump a conservative?  Is Hilary Clinton a progressive?  What is a democratic socialist? Libertarianism: Foundational elements Views of State/ State action (acceptable/unacceptable) Fundamental right to liberty Minimal/limited state - Human freedom Non-interference/ freedom to choose No redistribution of wealth  Respect some right of others 1) No paternalism 2) 3) No moral legislation Self-ownership No regulation of markets 1) keeping the peace 2) enforce contracts 3) protect private property Free markets No taxation (forced labor-nozick) Nozick’s entitlement theory 1- Initial holdings 2- Justice in transfer Utilitarianism: Term/concept: Higher pleasures - Meaning: forms of happiness (utility) that are more valuable than other forms - Significance: o human flourishing, development o progress in society o individual rights o Sandel- cultural production  Pleasurable? o Bodily animalistic o Mill: Durable, long term o Qualitative component vs. quantitative o Freedom of expression and public debate o M: distinction between higher/ lower pleasures & what is harmful o M: morality/ethics  Interests of minority groups o Ex of higher pleasure: Education Bentham: - Human nature: people want to do what benefits themselves (utility calculators) - Principle of utility: promote happiness and diminish pain and suffering o Utility happiness, benefit, advantage, good - Community (society): body of individuals o consider utility:  Individuals  Legislative bodies (gov’t) Right thing to do:  Morality (right/wrong) Justice: - Punishment - Rights (administration of law) - Fairness & equality - Distribution of resources - Retributive justice (addressing past wrongs) - Protection of rights  Mutual agreement (social contract theorists)  Majority will (tyranny of the majority)  Oppressing marginalized groups  Mill- advocating for the freedom of speech, press, public debate… o Imp. Because gives the minority a voice [majority is not always right]  Justice is “the interest of the stronger”  Happiness/utility maximization 


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